Banks Ironmongers – Cockermouth
Location : Cockermouth – Grid Reference: NY 122307
J.B.Banks & Son Ltd, 13 – 14 Market Place, Cockermouth, CA13 9NH
Email [email protected]. Tel: 01900 822281
J.B.Banks is a traditional ironmongers and hardware shop with its roots firmly in the past. It was opened in 1836 and has been owned by two separate families, now being run by the third generation of the Jackson Family, Vanessa Graham.
It has a wealth of original features from the magnificent mahogany counters to the 172 drawers holding varied and individual items. These drawers have labels on the back showing cost prices from the 1850’s onwards. The Deeds date back to the 1650’s written on vellum, while another is signed by John Wordsworth, William Wordsworth’s father. These are now in the Archives in Whitehaven and can be looked at by appointment.
From the Victorian rolling wooden shutter at the front, with the gilded key hanging above the matching oak doors, you will be taken back in time before crossing the threshold. Once inside, the shop is full of interesting collections, collected throughout his life by Jack Jackson. Miner’s lamps, carriage lamps, old tools and poacher’s paraphernalia hang from the ceiling. Antique weapons are also on view, together with cartridge boards, medals and cap badges.
On one counter is the chrome till, pounds, shillings and pence with lots of buttons yet not enough to ring in £10. The brass weights and scales are still used, weighing pounds and ounces or grams and kilograms. Another counter is covered in old keys and pennies. Made when decimalisation came to Britain, look closely and you may find a silver sixpence and a thre’penny bit.
The shop is still a business, specialising in hand tools and hardware. Blue & white enamelware can be found here, together with Garden Trading goods. It still offers quality service it has always given and J.B.Banks celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2011. A visit is a must to browse or buy.